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Is your bass exposed to at least 50% moisture?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Karl Beck, May 9, 2010.

  1. Karl Beck

    Karl Beck

    May 2, 2010
    It is amazing to me even in today's age where you will see so many carved instruments with cracks that could have been prevented with the correct moisture in a room. A small humidifier ( air drawn, not steam !! ) in a room where your bass is stored ( if you have a plywood bass I would not worry about it ) set at least 50% to 65%, will keep her right where she needs to be, and it also creates good air quality for your dry nose in the winter... :)
  2. owen_liam


    Jun 16, 2007
    Bristol, UK
    Or you could move to the UK where the humidity never drops below 212%...
  3. rythman6969


    May 29, 2007
    or new jersey 9 months out of the year . only in the cold winter is it less than sticky.
  4. Or Alabama. Seems to be the only place where it can be 100% humidity with not a drop of rain.
  5. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA
    This is overly simple and not-so-good advice. This subject has been covered extensively on this forum. If a player keeps his bass in a 50-65% environment in the cold, dry winter (or in the desert), then takes it out into the real world, that bass is subject to shrinkage and cracking. It is commonly accepted that winter humidification should be in the 35-45% range. The biggest threat to a nice bass is the rapid change of environment.
  6. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    You obviously haven`t been to Memphis ;)

    I swear, the only time it feels like there`s no humidity is immediately after it rains. But once the sun gets back out and the water starts evaporating.... Nothing says summer like 101 degree weather and 95% humidity.
  7. Rockman


    Mar 2, 2006
    Yeaaah, Western Tennessee has some of the most oppressive weather I have ever experienced.
  8. Cody Sisk

    Cody Sisk

    Jan 26, 2009
    Lilburn, GA
    Ronald Sachs Violins
    The Taylor Guitar Factory maintains a strict 47% humidity. This seems to be the ideal median humidity that they start with before shipping guitars all over the country to face various climate differences.

    65% is excessive. I try and keep my shop at 45-50%, but the areas where our new instruments are displayed are a bit less than that.


    Mar 4, 2008
    Larisa, Greece
  10. I am only about two or three hours from Memphis. We probably share a lot of weather related oppressions. Isn't it wonderful to live in the south in the summer and always feel like a damp, dirty dishrag.
  11. wdnewman


    Apr 13, 2009
    There are two cities in the United States where humidity is off the charts.
    Number one is Houston.
    Number two is New Orleans.
    If you haven't spent a summer in either one of those cities, I don't want to hear your comments about humidity.
    You guys in Memphis and Huntsville, etc., have it dry and cool in comparison.
  12. I think we got too much humidity in Hawaii. Pickups rust out if you leave bass in the open even with windows closed. i learned my lesson with my first/beginner bass.
    so my new bass has plastic covers (Epiphone t-bird pro humbuckers)
  13. Karl Beck

    Karl Beck

    May 2, 2010
    To arnoldschnitzer.... I don't agree with you entirely. however it really depends on the environment on the outside, if you live in the desert 0% and you keep your instrument at 60% then yes that would be a problem, but I wasn't talking about drastic climates, but a good point non the less
  14. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    As in Higdon, Alabama, up on Sand Mountain.
  15. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    boy, poor Stradivarius and Amati, they certainly didn't have humidity control, proper heating, insulation, good windows, or proper instrument cases....

    guess what, their instruments did just fine for hundreds of years.

    Sure, they had the odd crack just like any other instrument, but considering the fact that we have had all of these luxuries only for the last 100 years (I am being generous), could we be making too much of this?
  16. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Poor Stradivarius didn't make basses. Don't know about Amati. Cracks may be more of an issue on bigger instruments. My cello has several repaired cracks on the belly, and a new one that I am watching closely.

    I'd rather not have my bass crack, all other things equal, and I'd like to know what I can do within the range of reasonable measures to reduce the likelihood.
  17. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Precisely-- thoughtful as usual. They also didn't have vaccines back then. That's no argument to go without 'em. ;)
  18. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    The also didn't have forced air heating.
  19. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    And they didn't have sub-zero winters.
  20. just what i was thinking. it's A/C and central heat that really dry out the air more than anything. you have a better shot at keeping your bass from cracking if you control the humidity of the place you keep it, it's pretty simple.

    dr rod: here's another way of thinking of it - stradivarius and amati were among the greatest instrument makers of their time. they probably didn't want their instruments to break. if they were around today, it's a pretty good bet they would control the humidity in their shops. actually they wouldn't really have to in italy's relatively temperate climate (nothing like new england winter), but that's besides the point. great instrument makers of our time use humidity control. we all got by without cell phones in the 80's and cars in the 1800's. bet you're using those too.

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